John Albert Delany Print Page Print this page

The cross over the grave commemorates John Albert Delany, musician and former choirmaster of St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, who died in 1907. 

In 1872 Delany was appointed choirmaster at the St mary`s Cathedral and organist in 1874 but resigned in 1877 to join the Lyster Opera Company in Melbourne as chorusmaster. After some years with itinerant musical companies he returned to Sydney to take up a special appointment in September 1882 as musical director of the three-day celebrations marking the opening of the northern end of St Mary's Cathedral, in honour of which he composed his 'Triduum March'. After further travel he was appointed conductor at the Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, in 1884; next year he returned to Sydney to become conductor of the Liedertafel, a post which he retained until 1897; both Dame Nellie Melba and Ada Crossley made their Sydney débuts under his direction. In 1886 he was appointed musical director at St Mary's Cathedral where frequent changes in choirmasters had produced incongruities in choral standards. Delany set out to correct them by reintroducing plain-song and unaccompanied polyphony after years of neglect. His wide operatic training also qualified him to present polished performances of the concert Masses then popular. In 1894 Delany became a foundation member of the Sydney College of Music, a private conservatorium of which he later became chairman of the Board of Examiners.
A large gathering assembled at the graveside of the late John Albert Delany in Waverley cemetery on Sunday, when the monument erected by members of the Sydney Liedertafel, St. Mary's Cathedral choir, and his friends and admirers, was unveiled by Monsignor O'Haran. Among those present were Monsignor O'Haran, accompanied by Father Nulty, Professor Anderson, Messrs. H. Althouse, J. Doherty, F. Nolan, and J. Tracey, A. Usher, G. Brewer, O. H. Curtis, P. M'Ginley, C. Rolfe, J. B. Doyle Bernasconi, H. Hawkins, and R. Rheimenschneider, Mesdames F. J. Riley and Kennedy, and Miss K. Morven. There were also about 30 members of the choir present, including Mr. W. Asprey, the conductor. The monument is a Celtic cross in white marble, bearing the inscription, "Laudate dominum in chordis et organo' (Ps. 150). Of your charity pray for the soul of John Albert Delany, late choirmaster and organist of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. Australia's most gifted harmonist and composer. Died May 11, 1907. Aged 56." On the base of the monument, over a bar of Delany's Mass in A Flat, are the words, "Requiem aeternum dona ei Domine. Erected by his admirers."
Freeman's Journal (Sydney), 2 November 1911.


Address:St Thomas & Trafalgar Streets, Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, 2024
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.907222
Long: 151.264167
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 29th October, 1911
Front Inscription

Laudate dominum in chordis et organo' (Ps. 150). 

Of your charity pray for the soul of John Albert Delany, late choirmaster and organist of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. 

Australia's most gifted harmonist and composer.

Died May 11, 1907. Aged 56. 

"Requiem aeternum dona ei Domine. Erected by his admirers."

Source: MA, ADB
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